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How To Have Family Meetings That Move!
The Family Meeting is a deep and rich strategy that will help you stay on your parenting road map to success. The purpose of the weekly family meeting is to show appreciation. they teach cooperation. distribution of household contributions; express concerns, identify problems and teach problem solving. and distribute the allowance.
Each week, family meeting consists of four components covered in 20 minutes or less:
- Problem Solving
Appreciations are an opportunity for us to recognize and appreciate and express our gratitude for the people we live with every day for the ways they contribute to our lives in positive ways.
Each meeting begins with assessments that will:
- set the tone for the meeting
- teach people how to give and receive appreciation
- Show family members how their individual character traits and contributions positively impact the family
- Allow our children to practice looking for the best in others.
Children will eventually have to learn how to manage their own households, so we might as well invite them from an early age to contribute to ours and devote time to education. That way, when it’s 13, we’re not screaming at the top of our lungs, “Go wash yourself!” and no one has ever shown them where the washing machine is. The contributions section of the Family Meeting is a place to start making agreements about daily chores, so that children and parents stop fighting all the time and parents do not whine and remind.
The best way to get your kids into the habit of contributions and time management is to have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The key is regularity and that it is done on a daily basis.
Follow the steps when teaching new skills. Be encouraging and supportive and look for improvement and progress – not perfection.
Parents often find themselves in the role of judge and jury. Kids come up to them all day saying things like, “Mommy, he did this and that to me!” “So what did you tell them?” “Okay, I’m going to have to…” Five minutes later, she put out the little fire and another kid goes, “Mommy, I don’t like it when…” “Okay, well, how are we supposed to solve this?” And after solving problems all day, the next day all those same problems come up again because nobody can remember what the solutions were, nobody really agreed to follow the solutions, so we’re in this catch-22. This is your family’s opportunity to become confident and skilled problem solvers.
I suggest that parents put a large piece of paper on a wall and at the top of the paper say, “I have a problem when…” And at the bottom of that paper, it says, “No name, no fault.”
Tip – Make sure children learn to write their problem in a sentence without a name. This will help them filter the emotion and drama out of their problem by eliminating the ‘details’.
Tip – If you have young children who can’t write yet, give them a stack of magazines and scissors and have them cut out a picture of their problem. If you agree to document their issue for them – you will always be responsible for documenting their issues.
- Solve 1 problem per encounter
- If it’s a problem for one person, it’s a problem for the family
- Everyone contributes a solution, no one comments on the solution
- Encourage your children to find the best solutions. Parents can provide solutions but they MUST BE BAD! As parents, we are very good at finding solutions, so we don’t need any practice
- The person with the problem chooses the solution they would like to try for 1 week
- Vote by consensus
We give our children an allowance to teach them: Save it, spend it or give it away
- The allowance is not linked to behaviour, grades, contributions or anything else. It’s an opportunity for our kids to develop a healthy relationship with money while they’re young!
- Give allowance only when you have completed the entire family meeting.
- Each child who attends the meeting receives a dollar allowance equal to their age in years. For example, a three-year-old child gets $3. A six-year-old child gets $6.
- At age 12, children are responsible for most of their own shopping. The allowance is halved.
- At age 14, purchases for which children are responsible increase and most children can work at that age, so the allowance is removed.
- Once the money passes from your hands to the child’s hands, it is no longer your business.
- Allow your children to forget their money, lose their money, give it to their siblings or whatever.
- Don’t remind children to bring their money and don’t lend them money
- Allow your children to develop their own relationship with money through trial and error. This is all about LEARNING.
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